‘I am in awe of Lorna Goodison’s myriad talents—award-winning poet, memoirist, writer of short stories as well as sensuous visual artist, she is here revealed as a consummate essayist. In Redemption Ground all her skills shine bright—no pomp, no fuss, just magic.’—Margaret Busby
In her first-ever collection of essays, poet and novelist Lorna Goodison interweaves the personal and political to explore themes that have occupied her working life: her love of poetry and the arts, colonialism and its legacy, racism and social justice, authenticity, and the enduring power of friendship.
Taking her title from one of Kingston’s oldest markets, a historic meeting place that was almost destroyed by fire, she introduces us to a vivid cast of characters and remembers moments of epiphany—in a cinema in Jamaica, at New York’s Bottom Line club, and as she searched for a black hairdresser in Paris and drank tea in London’s Marylebone High Street.
Enlightening and entertaining, these essays explore not only daily challenges but also the compassion that enables us to rise above them. Goodison’s poet’s eye, profound vision and glorious combination of metaphysical and post-colonial sensibilities confirm her as a major figure in world literature.
To read this selection of essays is to be given a detailed glimpse into (Lorna's) life and its many adventures and encounters. It was such an enjoyable reading experience.
Redemption Ground’s blend of memoir, sharp cultural commentary and ruminations on Goodison’s muses, literary and otherwise… builds a picture of the influences and experiences that make a great writer as she gradually pieces together the fragments that formed her life as a boundary-breaking, troublemaking poet.
A beautiful book... absolutely splendid.
Jenni Murray, Woman’s Hour, BBC Radio 4
Lorna Goodison writes lyrically and decisively. Redemption Ground absolutely blew me away... it is quite extraordinary, like an arrow in the heart.
Jo Good, BBC Radio London
Reads and Reveries, Bookstagrammer
25 January 2020
These were my final non-fiction reads of 2019 and I don’t think I could’ve chosen better.
In Redemption Ground*(gifted), Poet Laureate of Jamaica, Lorna Goodison discusses poetry, the arts, religion, the legacy of colonialism, her writing journey and, in particular, her intentions when writing, a favourite quote relating to this being: “…as a Caribbean writer it is my job to imagine and keep reimagining the past and the future into being, so that the best of what was lost might exist again in future”.
To read this selection of essays is to be given a detailed glimpse into her life and its many adventures and encounters and it was such an enjoyable reading experience.
I was already intending to read I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings so it was a happy coincidence that, at the end of Redemption Ground, Lorna Goodison recounts one such encounter with Maya Angelou herself.
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings is one of those books I’d been meaning to read for such a long time and I’m so glad I finally did, so much so that one of my reading goals for 2020 is to read the other 5 books that make up Maya Angelou’s autobiography. If you’ve read any of them, do you have a favourite?
*Huge thank you to @myriad_editions for the gifted copy of Redemption Ground)